This paper presents autobiographical narratives from three Black female social workers practicing during the events of 2020 (the Covid-19 pandemic and the racial unrest after the murder of George Floyd). Author one is a tenured university professor, practicing clinical social worker, and supervisor to therapists from various clinical disciplines, with a focus on mentoring BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) social workers. Authors two and three are practicing, graduate-level counselors who hold Master of Social Work (MSW) degrees and are doctoral students.
Black social workers, we must help our BIPOC clients process the same racial trauma that we are experiencing; on the other hand, we must guide white clients through disagreements with friends and family members with whom they strongly disagree about the racial climate, Black Lives Matter, or Trump, or console them as they experience guilt or confusion while confronting their white privilege. Additionally, we are doing this during a Pandemic that is disproportionately affecting Black Americans at an alarming rate. Navigating a triple-faceted pandemic has been a feat. To tackle these daily issues, we must practice self-care. Taking extra good care of ourselves, especially in times of distress, helps us cope with the roller coaster of emotions and events around us and models to our clients the importance of self-care as a regular practice.
Conclusions and Implications
Intersectionality and critical race grounded theories provide a lens for understanding lived experiences of marginalized populations. Additionally, autobiographical narratives can provide unique insight into understudied populations and aid the development of inclusive and anti-racist teaching and social work practices.